20220226 - Former Northfleet Cement Works, The Shore, Northfleet, Gravesend
Resolved that application 20220226 be DELEGATED to the Service Manager (Planning) in consultation with the Chair and Vice Chair to grant temporary planning permission subject to conditions and informatives.
The Committee considered planning application 20220226 in relation to Former Northfleet Cement Works, The Shore, Northfleet, Gravesend, Kent. The application was for temporary access and associated landscaping and parking for the sales suite at Northfleet Embankment West site.
The Senior Planner informed the Committee that the application site was located on the eastern side of College Road, near to the junction with Warwick Place, within the urban area of Northfleet where the character of the street scene was predominantly residential. To the north of the site stood a row of two storey dwellings, two pair of semi-detached dwellings and one detached dwelling in the middle. Parking for these properties was a mix of on and off road. Directly opposite to the west was a high brick boundary wall with residential properties behind. To the south was Warwick Place and further residential properties of mixed tenure. Due to the location of the proposed development within the Borough’s urban area, the principle of development would be acceptable providing it accorded with the local and national policies as set out in the report.
The site for the proposed access and parking area is within the Gravesham Borough Council boundary, whereas the wider Northfleet Embankment East development, known as Harbour Village falls within the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC) boundary.
The Senior Planner informed Members that the developer for Harbour Village proposed to utilise a number of units within the Harbour Village development as show homes for prospective purchasers. The proposed access and parking to which this application pertained, would provide access to these to show homes. The proposed temporary permission would be for 3 years with the site being restored to its former condition on expiry. Members were advised that a proposed restoration plan had been submitted with the application. The plan included the removal of all the hardstanding and parking areas located within the application site and replaced with amenity grass and ornamental hedging, shrubs and borders. There would also be additional tree planting to the west of the site in replacement of the access.
The Senior Planner advised that the Council was currently unable to demonstrate a five-year housing supply and whilst the proposed development was not going to deliver any dwellings itself, it was required to assist in the delivery of 532 homes within Gravesham. Therefore, on that basis, the Officer’s recommendation was that temporary permission be granted.
Members were invited to ask questions for clarification.
The Committee asked who would be responsible for maintaining the restored site after the permission had lapsed. The Service Manager (Planning) confirmed that it would be the responsibility of Bellway Homes to upkeep and maintain.
The Committee heard the views of the registered speakers in favour of the application who also answered questions from Members.
The Committee also heard the views of Cllr Lauren Sullivan, Ward Councillor for Northfleet North.
The Committee expressed concerns regarding:
· The ecological impact the proposed temporary access could cause and whether the site had been cleared prior to the ecological survey being carried out. The applicant advised that some clearing of the site had taken place due to the state of the site and the ecological survey had been carried out in May 2022, which EDC had approved, and KCC supported. The findings from the protective species survey was that there was a low risk. Further protection for bat roosting via a condition was requested.
· Access to the site for pedestrians and those with mobility issues due to the steep terrain. Clarification was given that regrading would occur to ensure accessibility for all.
· Members expressed that no work should be carried out during the bird nesting period of 1 March – 31 August. The Committee was informed that March to August was a long period of time to halt work and that an ecological survey had been carried out. After much debate, it was agreed that an additional condition would be included regarding this point.
· Clarification be sought on what the former condition was of the land as local residents referred to it as a much loved garden which attracted wildlife. It needs to be reinstated to its former condition; a pleasant garden for the community. The Senior Planner advised that was a condition of the application and referred Members to condition 1 of the recommendations. It was felt that condition 1 was too broad and needed to be tightened to include more stipulations regarding eco diversity, such as installation of bat boxes and enticing birds.
Resolvedthat the application be DELEGATED to the Service Manager (Planning) in consultation with the Chair and Vice Chair to grant temporary planning permission subject to conditions and informatives. The Chair and Vice Chair to be consulted on the details in relation to condition 1/the proposed restoration plan, bat roosting and works within the nesting season
Note: (1) Mr Gregory Evans (agent) spoke in favour of the application.
(2) Mr Harrison Thomas (applicant) spoke in favour of the application.
(3) Cllr Lauren Sullivan spoke with leave